Resources Science ›› 2020, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (7): 1428-1437.doi: 10.18402/resci.2020.07.18

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Reconstruction of cropland spatial patterns of the Manas River Basin of Xinjiang in the late Qing and Republican period

ZHANG Li(), LIU Jianjie   

  1. Northwest Institute of Historical Environment and Social-Economic Development, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an 710119, China
  • Received:2019-08-23 Revised:2019-12-06 Online:2020-07-25 Published:2020-09-25


Many studies have shown that land use and land cover change (LUCC) has played a key role in regional and global environmental change. It is important to have a historical LUCC database, especially high-resolution land cover database, to simulate the influence of LUCC on the climate and ecosystem. There exist several important historical databases of the global environment, but the accuracy of regional data should be reexamined. In this study, we extracted the archival data that are related to the cropland area in 1909 and 1944 for the Manas River Basin in Xinjiang. These data were subsequently revised and calibrated to estimate historical cropland areas. We reconstructed cropland change of the basin in the late Qing and Republican period. We divided the study area into 1 km × 1 km grids and allocated cropland area to these grids and built a high resolution dataset (at a 1 km × 1 km resolution). We analyzed the spatiotemporal variation characteristics of cropland, and reached the following conclusions: The cropland area of the Manas River Basin in 1909 was about 140.5 km2, and in 1944 it was about 241.7 km2. The cropland area average annual increase rate was about 2.9 km2 from 1909 to 1944. Limited by the natural environment and water resources, the cropland was mainly distributed on the plains in the middle and lower reaches of the river. The cropland covered about 19.9% of the Manas River Basin. The mean cropland fraction of the Manas River Basin in 1909 was about 0.2% and in 1944 it was about 0.4%. The maximum cropland fraction in 1909 was about 6.4% and in 1944 it was about 11.0%. Compared with HYDE3.2 (cropland 1910 AD and cropland 1940 AD), the cropland area from HYDE is higher than the reconstruction results.

Key words: historical land use, spatial pattern of cropland, grid-level reconstruction, Manas River Basin, late Qing and Republican period